For all its recent improvements, the tech industry still has a nasty blind spot:
How could anyone think that creating a young woman and inviting strangers to interact with her on social media would make Tay “smarter”? How can the story of Tay be met with such corporate bafflement, such late apology? Why did no one at Microsoft know right from the start that this would happen, when all of us – female journalists, activists, game developers and engineers who live online every day and could have predicted it – are talking about it all the time?
The answer cannot be anything but outright disdain. The industry wants to use women’s voices but still has no plans to actually listen to them. If empathy is core to the future of artificial intelligence, worry not – the Singularity is still quite a way off, no matter how many terrifying Holocaust-denying, racist, anti-feminist white millennial-bots Microsoft “accidentally” spawns.